University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine

Excellence in Learning

This innovative outreach program partners the University of Missouri School of Medicine, the Sinclair School of Nursing, MU's School of Health Professions and the Washington University School of Medicine with participating St. Louis area high schools. After the Saturday Scholars program at Washington University, selected students and one teacher from each school come to Columbia, Missouri for an intensive two-day medical education experience:

  • PBL – Experience the new patient-based learning (PBL) curriculum - In the same style that the medical students are trained, program participants spend most of the first day working through a medical unknown. Our guests work through the case in small groups facilitated by our own medical students.
  • Clinical skills workshop - This hands on workshop is held at the Sinclair School of Nursing's Essig Clinical Simulation Learning Center and is facilitated by volunteer faculty, staff and students. Learn typical skills used by health professionals on a daily basis.
  • Shadow doctors & other medical professionals – The next morning, our guests shadow someone in their area of interest.
  • Interaction with medical students and health care professionals – The entire two days are structured to provide up-close interaction through the PBL, shadowing, workshops, panels, meals
  • Interaction with college undergraduates – Some of the meals are in the regular campus dining facilities, providing opportunity to visit with college students.
  • Opportunities for ongoing mentoring - Since our guests will meet many people who can provide valuable input into their career planning, we encourage follow-up communication with potential mentors.

The program is called Excellence in Learning because our main objective is to cultivate skills for an ongoing independent style of aggressive learning. Yearly improvements in the program result from ongoing review of participant evaluations and needs assessments. In addition, both students, teachers and others may be invited to take part in conference calls to help in the planning for the upcoming event.

The MU School of Medicine for more than 17 years has provided a program which very nicely complements the first phase of the overall project, Washington University's Saturday Scholars program.

We are indebted to the numerous faculty members, staff and medical, nursing and health professions students who volunteer their time and resources to implement this program each year.

  • Informational packet may be obtained by emailing Jen Rachow.

Program Objectives


By exposure to the environment of a Major Academic Medical Center, we motivate students by allowing them to experience, "taste" and "savor" success as we provide opportunity to work through unknown medical cases and interact with practicing physicians and other healthcare workers. This program also exposes the students to many new career opportunities.


The active learning exercises pushes the student to learn new resources which help investigate and solve the unknown (PBL). We also attempt to showcase cutting-edge educational techniques and technology.


By observing successful health care professionals and experiencing their work environment, we hope to enkindle an appetite for excellence and success.


Provide meaningful interactions with successful health care professionals to foster ongoing mentoring relationships.


The interactive learning experiences demonstrate how to find and discover new resources for aggressive learning.

Typical Schedule – April 9-10, 2017

  • Sunday
    • Leave St. Louis Sunday Morning
    • Lunch with Mizzou College Students 
    • PBL Workshop
    • Dinner & Medical Student Panel
    • Clinical Skills Workshop
    • Late-Night Snack
  • Monday
    • Breakfast
    • Shadowing Health Professionals
    • Lunch
    • Health Professions Explorations
    • Leave for St. Louis
    • Arrive in St. Louis around dinner time
  • Selected students and teachers assist with advanced planning.
  • Conference calls provide opportunities for sharing ideas and information to ensure that we have a very meaningful and appropriately scheduled program.
  • Selected students may be invited to return for a second year.

How to Apply

All participants who are accepted to participate must be recommended by their advanced high school science teacher. We invite the best and brightest students from the St. Louis City participating schools to apply.

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